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Around the Columns

Field hockey returns

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With 27 members, MU’s field hockey club has plenty of players to scrimmage, including, from left, Jill Schweitzer, Stacey King and Amy Bartelt. Photo by Rob Hill

Launching a field hockey team may sound like a new idea, but MU’s players have actually revived a sport that was popular at Mizzou in 1912.

Of course, the 1912 squad didn’t recruit members on Facebook. That’s how Jessica Gilham, the club’s co-president, started MU’s current team. She met some interested players through the “We Played Field Hockey in High School and Miss It!!!” group on the social networking site. The team migrated from cyberspace to the Hinkson Creek fields and has grown to 27 members.

Field hockey is a cross between soccer and ice hockey. Players use sticks to hit a small, hard plastic ball through a goal. The hollow ball is supposed to stay close to the ground but sometimes connects with kneecaps instead. “All of us who play have gotten our fair share of bruises and knots,” says Stacey King, the club’s co-president.

The team is sponsored by MU’s Club Sports program and has been embraced by Missouri’s fledgling field hockey scene; Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., donated a set of goals. Since they do not have a coach, the players run drills and choose starters by consensus. This September and October, they traveled to matches in St. Louis, Little Rock, Ark., and Sewanee, Tenn.

Most of Mizzou’s players hail from St. Louis, where the sport is popular in high schools. “I like how it’s fast paced and team-oriented,” Gilham says. “You have to work together.”